Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word “passion” in several ways. One of those definitions is considered obsolete these days: suffering. But I think it is very valuable to use that definition as it applies to life pursuits.
In this culture we would probably consider suffering a bad thing on a first glimpse. And the ways we try to avoid pain is legion. Just consider the popularity of drugs, alcohol and entertainment as methods to escape from boredom, loneliness and reality.
But our willingness to suffer for something we love or care deeply about is a worthy pursuit.
Don’t misunderstand me. I feel fear, or at least uncomfortable when it comes to the thought of suffering – especially when the pain is needless or pointless. But if I am passionate about the goal I am pursuing it changes my perspective.
- I am passionate about my marriage, but it has been painful at times.
- I am passionate about my career, and it has been very difficult as well.
- I am passionate about my faith, and I have struggled with doubt and fear and guilt.
- I am passionate about emotional wellness and my inner journey, but depression and anxiety has followed me along the road at times.
“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.” C. S. Lewis
- I am passionate about the condition of our country, but I have suffered painfully with its decline.
- I am passionate about music, but having self-discipline to practice on my instrument has not always been an easy pursuit.
Whatever you are not willing to suffer for, you are not ready for – relationships, especially.
What are you willing to suffer for? What means so much to you that you will push past the pain? What goal is so significant that you are willing to volunteer your precious time or money to achieve it?
Psalm 105:4 (NLT) Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.